I have been labeled a procrastinator in some of my past circles. And I always hated it.
There is some baggage that comes with being called by a certain description, especially if you feel it does not fully encapsulate who you are. We do it all the time, even when well meaning. It is where nicknames and reviews take on life, as it is easier to come up with a few monikers than it is to deal with a person’s entire complexity. That sounded pretty existential, but in all honestly, we all want to be known for more than one image, one moment, or one part of who we are.
Now, I am not advocating we all make our own nicknames. That is just weird.
But I do advocate for steering clear of stereotypes and harmful typecasting. When we start to name certain aspects of a person it is a form of psychological training for them, yourself, and all people in the system where it happens. They move from being a subject to becoming the object described. A procrastinator, for example, becomes known for procrastination even by those who have no contact with the person. They simply known for doing or acting in a particular way that fit the description in another individual’s lexicon. If that person was placed in a position of influence it is even more obvious and it sticks.
There is much clarity in understanding why people do what they do, how they process things, and how they come to conclusions or end goals. This involves the whole person. This was made clear to me a while back as I studied for my Myers-Briggs certification, gaining understanding in our innate preferences. My tendencies lie in creative and imaginative exploration, an autonomous approach to development and construction, bringing it all together in a finished product without a series of checkpoints. Yep, that’s right. Not procrastination.
Think for a minute about how you process information and come to a conclusion? Now how do you work towards an end goal? Next time you feel like labeling someone based on a different approach to work and outcomes, start by asking those questions and start a conversation instead.